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Anyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that I take mental health very seriously. It’s an important topic that has been discussed quite a bit in the public forum as of late. Unfortunately, the circumstances for this recent trend in discourse is less than stellar. For those who are unaware, the world has lost two very special personalities to mental health issues: world-renowned fashion designer Kate Spade and beloved celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain both committed suicide within a few days of eachother.

Because of their celebrity status and influence in their respective industries, their deaths became front-page news and the world took notice. Two kind, intelligent and successful people had suddenly succumbed to their mental health issues, and while their deaths are tragic and premature, they have ignited a conversation about mental health that needs to happen.

Kate, who’d built a billion-dollar fashion empire with her husband Andy Spade, suffered from depression. Anthony, one of the world’s greatest and most revered celebrity chefs, had reportedly been depressed and in a “dark mood.” According to multiple reports, Kate’s husband and business partner had detailed her longtime battle with depression and anxiety. He had stated that she was seeking professional assistance to help deal with her mental issues. Anthony was in the process of shooting an episode of his wildly popular television show Parts Unknown. Multiple sources who were working with Anthony during the shoot claim that he was exhibiting strange behavior and that he was completely exhausted from filming. Anthony’s shooting schedule was very intensive and as someone who gave his all into everything he did, he was investing all of his energy into each and every shoot, which resulted him being, “beat up” by it.

While Kate was seeking medical assistance from her doctors and Anthony would attempt to isolate and center himself in his hotel room after filming, both of these public icons were unable to escape the personal demons they struggled with. We must take these two shocking examples of how severe depression can be and continue the discussion on how to offer assistance to those facing similar situations

Suicide rates are increasing higher than ever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published a report stating suicide’s staggering rise in the last two decades. From 2000 to 2016, there has been a whopping 30% increase in suicides throughout the country. And unfortunately, when major celebrity deaths like this occur, especially two back-to-back suicides, it can result in a spike in suicides; after Robin Williams’ suicide back in 2014, there was a 10% rise in suicides across the nation.

If you are facing difficult times and are dealing with depression and anxiety, reach out for support and assistance. There are outlets and organizations that can help you through rough times. If you are contemplating suicide, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.